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  • Writer's pictureBruno Asoka

Casemiro the hero

Brazil defeated Switzerland 1-0 in Group G of the FIFA World Cup (FWC) thanks to Casemiro's late goal, making the Seleçao the first team to be unbeaten in 17 straight World Cup group stage games and earning a ticket in the Round of 16.

Brazil and Switzerland both won their initial Group G matches, so whomever prevailed in this encounter would guarantee an early entry to the FWC knockout rounds. Early on, there was a mutual respect between the two teams, with Brazil maybe concerned of a team they had lost to in their last two competitive encounters, including a 1-1 tie in the competition's previous season four years prior.

The Seleçao was the first to apply pressure, and when Raphinha's whipped cross from the right wing fell perfectly at Vinicius Junior's feet six yards out, the confidence of a team that had scored 28 goals in their last eight victories soon became apparent. The attacker, though, was only able to scuff his shot straight at Yann Sommer. While Brazil had possession and even appeared dangerous when Ruben Vargas got space in the area, Switzerland remained steadfast and Alisson was quick to react and avoid any danger.

After the half, Brazil regained control of the match. Vinicius Junior appeared to have given Brazil the lead in the 64th minute when he threw the ball past Sommer while dodging the tumbling Nico Elvedi, but VAR disallowed the goal because of offside in the build-up. Lacking the energy that Neymar so frequently brought, Brazil needed a stroke of genius to finally stun the weary Swiss defense. With seven minutes of the game remaining, Rodrygo flicked the ball to Casemiro inside the box, and the midfielder slammed an unstoppable half-volley into the top corner with a slight deflection off Manuel Akanji.

Brazil earned three points thanks to a late display of excellence as Tite's team pursues a sixth FWC championship. Brazil can now unwind ahead of their last encounter against Cameroon. The hard work Switzerland put into their defense, though, was ultimately in vain. They are still in charge of their own fate, though, and as long as Brazil don't lose to the Indomitable Lions, they will advance with a point against Serbia.

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